Helmed by owner and cake artist Mandy Williams, The Cake Company unfurls a fresh panoply of cookies, brownies, and fetching customized cakes. Peanut-butter or snickerdoodle cookies strut around plates next to their gargantuan cousins, the 12-inch or 16-inch chocolate-chip cookies. Cake-smiths set up private consultations for prospective brides and grooms, wherein couples taste their way through six samples before collaborating on the design for their perfect wedding cake. The pastry architects commemorate other special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or finally figuring out how to ride two bikes at once with specialty cakes adorned with colorful buttercream or fondant arranged into clever designs, such as a lighthouse, a giant cupcake, or a spray-paint can.
For more than 30 years, Great Harvest Bread Company has fashioned fresh, handmade loaves, muffins, and baked goods every day from scratch using whole wheat from family-owned farms. Gourmet meats, cheeses, and garnishes are sandwiched between honey whole wheat, Harvest white, or Squall, whose yeast only rises when placed in a windy thunderstorm. Green, yellow, and red bell peppers marinated in balsamic vinaigrette snuggle into the roast beef and peppers panini ($6.75) alongside melted provolone, chipotle-mayo sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Coated in a garlic-and-herbs spread, melted provolone and cheddar cheese oozes from an old-fashioned grilled-cheese sandwich ($4.25), and veggie monsters ($6.25) pack childhood closets with terrifyingly tasty lettuce, tomato, onion, bell peppers, and balsamic-marinated tofu. Sweet, sticky cinnamon rolls and muffins sated with fresh blueberries, raspberries, pumpkin, and chocolate chips bundle into dozens, prepared to mix and match per each patron's preference.
Starting with only a single ice shaver and a hand-built hut, Bahama Buck's has expanded its icy empire to include a menu loaded with arctic indulgences and more than 91 gourmet flavors of Sno. Dessertsmiths drizzle complex flavors such as tangy kiwi, sweet sugar cookie, and emotionally ambivalent tutti frutti over fluffy mounds of pulverized ice to create Sno cones ($2.69+).
The top-brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest handrolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the Earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet-and-salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers.
The cousin tag team of Livia Woodburn and Lizzie Smith embraces fresh ingredients and creative cooking to deliver breakfast, lunch, and baked goods. Myriad cupcake experiments stand out against the mundane—like a rebellious teenager who wears a suit—to fulfill special requests and cater parties. It might be said that Livia’s parallel career as a graphic designer acts as the secret ingredient that gives each cupcake its inventive, artistic flair. The friendly café invites early-morning or afternoon diners to feast upon hearty eats crafted from locally acquired ingredients and accompanied by house-made pickles, olives, and dressings. Lizzie, the lead chef behind many of Pan-Handlers Café’s dishes, cut her teeth as a cook during familial dinner routines and several cooking courses, and the cuisine enthusiast earned her degree in biology from Lewis & Clark College, which is inexplicably not where Lewis and Clark went to college.